Adam Savage's One Day Builds
19 September 2023 | 7:36 pm

Since his time at Mythbusters, Adam Savage has been running Tested, a maker YouTube channel that deals with all forms of nerdery. One recurring segment of Tested is Adam Savage’s series of “One Day Builds”. Savage is the embodiment of the maker persona, so it’s no wonder such a prolific builder would make a series like that.

I also can’t help but see how the concept of one day builds have almost infinite practical advantages for someone like him (and someone like me?). Based on the dozens of one day builds I’ve watched, they seem to offer the following benefits:

  • An interesting mix of projects. From movie prop replicas, to model builds, to lego builds, to organizing his shop; there’s a diversity of projects to keep his active brain interested. And it keeps me interested too. At a basic level I love how organizing your workplace, a little mise en place, is a one day build project unto itself.
  • Fits his maker persona and skill base. You get the sense from Mythbusters that Adam Savage is a person who doesn’t sit still. One day builds allow for rapid iteration and rapid problem solving, which I think is in Savage’s wheelhouse. It fits his unique brand of hyperactive and excited energy applied towards tinkering and fabricating ideas.
  • A time box for scoping projects. With one day builds, you’re not doing a week that turns into two weeks that turns into a month. You’re not doing an hour project that turns into a day. You’re doing a day project that may spill over to the next day. A perfect scope that’s great for content generation.
  • Bite-sized content for YouTube. One day builds gives you a steady stream of bite-sized content which is faster to capture, edit, and release. A one day build boils down perfectly into the 10-minute YouTube video format. Selfishly, I strategize that you could batch record a couple weeks worth of content then take a few months off. You’re never chasing your own tail drumming up content.
  • Bonus livestream content for Patreon. Supporters get a behind-the-scenes livestream of the one day build with a sense of satisfaction seeing a project completed over a single stream rather than months. As far as completing dopamine satisfaction cycles goes, this is high-value.
  • It’s the opposite of a highly produced Mythbusters episode. Savage said at one point Mythbusters cost around ~$10,000/minute to record. Camera crews, safety experts, explosives, and crane rentals add up. With one day builds, there’s no driving out to the desert to blow cement trucks up, no putting cameras on a car and launching them off a cliff. A one day build is Adam, an iPhone, and some GoPros setup for timelapse footage around the shop; a massive simplification in production.
  • Quantity Guaranteed. I imagine Savage has infinite project ideas rattling around in his head. Making space for satisfying one day builds seems like a good way to ensure you actualize a certain quantity of projects in your lifetime.

Alls to say, I think this format suits Adam Savage and I see mostly advantages with the approach. The biggest tradeoff is probably project depth, but depth can be a trap where weeks or months of toil gets swept into the garbage can. It’s not all loss, lessons where learned, but at a greater expense.

Last month I had the opportunity to do a proper one day build at work. We needed an internal tool to shape some demo data for screencasts and screenshots. Rather than hacking the database directly, I built a little UI tool to enable this niche request. Only one person will ever use it, but it worked great and gave me a sense of satisfaction that emotionally carried me for a few weeks.

There’s a great temptation to try and structure my work life into a regular series of one day builds. I wonder if this would work across a team for consistent delivery and/or content generation. Is it possible to scale this style of working…

Tempting as that may be, it’s worth noting that Savage says he doesn’t jump into one day builds. There’s a lot of pre-thinking and material acquisition that goes on beforehand. He won’t start a project until the mental dots align. Building a cadence on that foundation might be difficult. Perhaps that’s what project management needs though, a little less cadence and little more forethought.

Lastly, a quote from one of Adam Savage’s one day builds that I love:

Drawers are a machine that require maintenance.

Luro is out of beta 🚀
15 September 2023 | 4:21 pm


I’m thrilled to say that Luro is out of beta! 🚀🎉 Anyone can sign up and take it for a test drive. It’s been a year of gathering feedback from private beta customers and design partners, constantly refining to give the app the right mix of instant gratification and long term value. It’s almost unrecognizable from what we released a year ago. If you are a Designer or a Developer (or Design Engineer) working in the design systems space, we think you’re going to love it because it’s built for you.

The new focus is on tracking adoption of component systems across the live product. On the Luro blog, Trent posted about why we believe measurement is critical to adoption based on our decades of experience doing the work. And we’re hellbent on making it as painless as possible; it takes three minutes and two URLs to start tracking components.

That’s the start of what Luro can do for you and your company. Chris described Luro better than I ever could have but there’s a lot packed into each Luro, features we believe will provide value over the long tail of your product’s life. Like answering the eternal question “Why are our buttons purple?” Or our knowledge management system that maps to your product’s pages and components instead of some internal wiki dumpster fire. Or our weekly Lighthouse audits that keeps everyone accountable for the product’s health. Through a shared lens and access to the same information, we can build better products together.

It feels wonderful to be out of private beta and entering a new phase where we can share everything we’ve built publicly. We’ll be blogging and ’gramming more. There’s a YouTube channel. We have a Discord. And on Wednesday mornings, I’ll be doing weekly office hours livestream on my Twitch as well as giving some sneak peeks for some upcoming features. Be sure to like and subscribe wherever you see fit.

What a journey so far. Cheers to my fellow luromigos Trent, Reagan, and Kyle as well as past contributors Emmett, Scott, Julian, Eli, and René. Special thanks to all the people I bothered with API questions, specifically Paul and Jake, and to everyone who has given feedback or kicked the tires along the way. Looking forward to the next major milestone.

Your feedback means more to small teams
11 September 2023 | 6:22 pm

As we’re approaching a pretty big milestone for Luro, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the effort that’s gone into the product. Not just the effort from members on the team, but also from the people beta testing our app. A trickle here, a flood there, I squeal with glee when new issues arrive. Your feedback means the world to small teams, it impacts the direction of the product more than you could ever imagine.

High fives we can retweet are awesome but what’s been most valuable is the feedback and considered criticisms we’ve received. Did something not work? Was something hard to understand? Did something take too many clicks? These stories impact milestones and roadmaps. I want to make these frustrations my frustrations.

Even a good old fashioned “Y’know what I wish/think your product could do…” can turn a small boat around. In fact, we spent the whole summer building out a new core feature based almost entirely on a welcomed suggestion. We have a lot of ideas (AI for dogs!) but I will trade a million growth hacks to build something genuinely useful for folks.

I know everyone’s busy and it’s a lot to ask, but if you encounter a bug and manage to get a lil’ screen grab or some reproduction steps, the chances I can find a fix sky rockets. Often we may already know about the issue, but it has fallen off the radar with all the other priorities, a little nudge helps us reprioritize. On average those bugs get fixed the fastest.

You have an oversized impact when giving feedback to small teams; it makes an enormous splash in a small pond. I think that’s true for any small collective of people working on something, whether it’s a small startup or open source project. Oversized impact can be good or bad, I guess. If you lob a giant turd over the fence you potentially ruined the day of an entire group of people, not some faceless corporation. I know I’ve made that mistake before. But deliver a kind word, you might have helped a team in need.

To any of the kind people who have given your time or feedback in the past – or if you find the energy to do so in the future – I want to say, thank you. It means a lot.

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